How to Manage Career Disappointment

There will always be a point in our career where regardless how hard we try, how much we commit, and how successful we feel, things just do not progress at the pace we desire or in the direction we are hoping. The hardest part is knowing the difference between this time being a need for patience, or whether it is the time to look further at other options in your career.

Professionally, as career coaches we provide many individuals with guidance on this exact situation. And the emotional implications, feelings of dismay and questions around why this is actually happening are common – even for the most senior and experienced business professional.

So how do you manage career disappointment?

Put it in to perspective:

Understand in detail the reason behind the disappointment. Is it a decision that is going to have an immediate impact on your career? Will it become a long term stale mate? or is it just a slight career hurdle that requires you to have a small amount of patience?

Talk to your managers or colleagues:

Holding in frustrations such as this can result in the development of negative emotions towards your management team, colleagues and your organisation. By talking about the situation with those that can be, or are, involved in the situation will allow you to control your emotions and ensure that you do not “build a mountain out of a mole hill”. Remember, it is important to be proactive at all times in your career and to see everything as a learning opportunity.

Look at alternatives:

We are 100% responsible for our own careers generally (with support from others of course), for this reason it is our own responsibility to be aware of what may happen. By being aware we have the opportunity of looking at alternatives and assessing proactively how the alternative may support our career. Map out what these alternatives will be, the implications, benefits and challenges and how this may assist you in reaching your career goals. Once you have done this you will be able to look at the timeframe and opportunity these alternatives may present your career.

Remove the emotion:

As hard as it is, a clear career decision can only be made when the emotion is removed from the situation. Never assume that business decisions are made because of “you” rather understand that business is business, and hopefully the decisions that are being made will result in an even stronger business operation. If you are unable to remove the emotion, work with others to help you understand what the situation looks like when the emotion is removed.

Develop your network:

Developing your network is key to any career growth opportunity and to all of your success. By developing your network during this time, you can further enhance your knowledge, your career prospects and understand business operations through the eyes of other professionals that may have ‘been there, done that’. Remember however that in developing your network, you also need to be prepared to nurture it.

The reality is, everyone will have a point of disappointment in their career. It is however how it is managed that will result in the disappointment being used to develop as a professional or disengage as an employee. Remember, from all failures comes an opportunity to learn and develop as a professional.

Remember, getting support for issues that are impacting you, both in your career is always important. There is always someone to talk to that can provide you assistance during these times and it is important to work with professionals for support and a deeper understanding of managing challenging times.

[Featured image: Shutterstock]

By Rebecca Fraser

Rebecca Fraser is a Leader of learning and development for organisations and individuals. She is highly recognised for her contribution to the industry and for her work in the media providing information on modern day job search strategies. She is the author of ‘How to get a job in the 21st century’, her newest release on job search and resumes.